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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on November 11, 2012 8:48 AM. The previous post in this blog was So, did your vote get counted?. The next post in this blog is Chilly 'dogs chosen. Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.

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Sunday, November 11, 2012

On Armistice Day


We honor the veterans in our midst, and those who gave their all.

Comments (16)

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

by John McCrae, May 1915

My family also would like to thank all of our veterns and current enlisted heros along with their families.

THANK You

As a supposed veteran, I wish people would quit thanking me for my service (I got paid quite well), automatically thinking I am a hero (my guesstimate is that probably about 1% of people who have ever been in the military have performed a heroic act; I never met a single one, though I know they exist from Congressional Medal of Honor citations, for example)), thinking I am protecting your freedoms (we attack countries without declaring war, countries that never threatened any of your freedoms), or thinking we are representing the greatest, freest country on earth (we are an empire and act like it, including treating our own citizens like they are criminals; have you been to an airport in the last ten years?; did you know we have the highest incarceration rates in the world?).

Think about all that before mindlessly thanking me for my service. The military costs a bunch of dough and probably does more to take away worldwide freedom than any other organization. Who invented drones? Who dropped the A-bomb? Who tortures and kills, even US citizens without due process? Who makes you sign up to potentially be drafted when you turn 18? How does a draft, even its remote possibility currently, comport with the 13th Amendment?

Despite all the above negativity, I did cry today at church when Flanders Fields was sung thinking about the two people that I personally know that died in the US military's recent foreign occupations. What makes me sadder: We have changed the name from Armistice Day, where we think about ending war, or at least trying, to a day where a joker like me who sat in a cubicle during his (undeclared) "war"time experience gets a free car wash.

I'll take the free car wash and the 10% discounts but don't thank me for my service.

Okay. But thank you for doing the one thing that's absolutely essential for preserving our freedom of speech...using it.

This "holiday" should be about armistice, and not fighting more wars, sales, and free parking.
I only hope that not too many more in our military service will make the. 'ultimate' sacrifice.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N2YvcB9lW18

Green Fields Of France

Eric Bogle

Well, how do you do, Private William McBride,
Do you mind if I sit down here by your graveside?
And rest for awhile in the warm summer sun,
I've been walking all day, and I'm nearly done.
And I see by your gravestone you were only 19
When you joined the glorious fallen in 1916,
Well, I hope you died quick and I hope you died clean
Or, Willie McBride, was it slow and obscene?

Did they Beat the drum slowly, did the play the pipes lowly?
Did the rifles fir o'er you as they lowered you down?
Did the bugles sound The Last Post in chorus?
Did the pipes play the Flowers of the Forest?

And did you leave a wife or a sweetheart behind
In some loyal heart is your memory enshrined?
And, though you died back in 1916,
To that loyal heart are you forever 19?
Or are you a stranger without even a name,
Forever enshrined behind some glass pane,
In an old photograph, torn and tattered and stained,
And fading to yellow in a brown leather frame?

The sun's shining down on these green fields of France;
The warm wind blows gently, and the red poppies dance.
The trenches have vanished long under the plow;
No gas and no barbed wire, no guns firing now.
But here in this graveyard that's still No Man's Land
The countless white crosses in mute witness stand
To man's blind indifference to his fellow man.
And a whole generation who were butchered and damned.

And I can't help but wonder, no Willie McBride,
Do all those who lie here know why they died?
Did you really believe them when they told you "The Cause?"
Did you really believe that this war would end wars?
Well the suffering, the sorrow, the glory, the shame
The killing, the dying, it was all done in vain,
For Willie McBride, it all happened again,
And again, and again, and again, and again.

I started to write a rebuttal to Eric but to each his own.

Being drafted and never being a hero never bothered me as much as Eric. I too, never even got shot at but was fully prepared for that possibility. When called, I WENT while many of my peers worked at dodging THEIR duty. While studying Vietnamese & how to call artillery in close killing only the bad guys, my college pals were getting high and landing cushy civilian jobs. That's a KIND heroic, isn't it? Maybe it was just luck of the draw.

So the, "...thank you for your service..." might ring a little shallow for SOME after a while. And it kinda bugs me when it comes from someone that dodged their duty when it counted. But today, it seems there's far fewer of those with a sense of obligation to society at large. No surprise considering the teachers we have now.

Now, my "senior honored citizen" discount is often better than any vet gets.

Still, I really liked that really LOW VA 8.8% mortgage I got in the late 70's when everyone else was paying 12%. No doubt we'll be back there soon enough.

I just wish I could still fit into my old uniform.

And y'all are welcome.

Eric: I share much of your feelings -- I don't agree about the a-bombing and I prefer the drones to wider war -- but for those of us who served in some civilian style capacity but didn't go soldiering, Veterans Day is a difficult time.
To accept praise or thanks for service to causes we don't agree with is embarrassing, especially when people assume we were somehow warriors. Personally I became more actively anti-war after I was drafted and served than I had been going in, even when it was clear I would never see combat.
But I do join the praise and sorrow for those who did the real deal. And the contempt for those who made them go and might again.

It saddens me to read opinions like Eric's. Veteran's Day for me is to remember those who did serve, and the many who did die while serving, and even those that might have just supported missions by being in a "cubical".

Eric, get thee to a civics class...
The "military" doesn't make you sign up for the draft...
Not that is relevant since we haven't drafted anyone since the mid-70s.

Here's the song I always think about when I see that Bradach name in these comments:

"Travis John" by Kate Power

Under a foreign sky,
my fate awaits me.
There but for God go I,
do not forsake me.

I am a boy,
full of promise,
full of freedom;
Now joy
is dead and done,
I am gone.

Before the western sea,
my home was in the valley.
There with my family,
I took to manhood early.

I was the one
my brother called,
my mother looked to me,
her fine, strong son;
Now the joy
is dead and done,
I am gone.

Finding my way to go,
the call that I should answer;
My country's own hero,
like music to the dancer.

I am a boy
full of promise,
full of freedom;
Now the joy
is dead and done,
I am gone.

Under a weeping willow tree
you planted roses.
There in my memory,
where my eternal ghost is.

I was a boy
full of promise,
full of freedom;
Now joy
is dead and done,
I am gone.

Now the joy
is dead and done,
I am gone.

Eric - My family is all military, Vietnam, WWII, Afghanistan, Iraq I and II...our attitude mirrors yours. The blind nationalism (or patriotism, whatever) really is irksome. We truly wanted to serve, but were misused. It's complicated.

Tank - Hair splitting?

And in Flanders Fields there are black iron crosses too. Those German cemeteries are not well kept. The weeds have taken over and the iron of the crosses and the surrounding fences is rusting away.
Not all who die in war are the victors, but they are just as dead, and they had family and loved ones too.

Thank you for selecting a photo of Ft Rosecrans National Cemetary on Point Loma. My pop is buried there. He was more kind to me than he had to be.

No, not hair splitting.
Those of us who serve, or have served do not make the decisions on where to go and who to fight.
Maybe you were drafted and answered the call and did your duty, be it as a clerk or a grunt you did what was asked of you.
Maybe you volunteered, choosing to answer that same call.
Either way you signed that check, payable up to and including your life.
If you want to rage against something do it against those politicians who get us into wars and non-wars.

The photo was sent to me by a long-time reader of this blog, who took it while driving through there.


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